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Ohio changing signs for harmful algal blooms

Algae floats in the water at the Maumee Bay State Park marina in Lake Erie in Oregon, Ohio, on...
Algae floats in the water at the Maumee Bay State Park marina in Lake Erie in Oregon, Ohio, on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. Pungent, ugly and often-toxic algae is spreading across U.S. waterways, even as the government spends vast sums of money to help farmers reduce fertilizer runoff that helps cause it. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)(Paul Sancya | AP)
Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 3:22 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday it is simplifying the health advisories posted for Harmful Algal Blooms on the state’s beaches and boat launches. Moving forward, they will have one advisory tier for recreational waters.

When an algal bloom is identified as potentially harmful, the state will post a blue caution sign. Once the algal bloom exceeds a health-based threshold, the state will post red advisory signs for a recreational public health advisory. The red signs mean visitors are not recommended to swim or wade in the water and all pets should be kept away. A green sign will be placed at boat launches warning visitors to stay away from water that is visibly green.

The changes in signage correspond with a change in advisories after the thresholds for cyanotoxins were lowered in an effort to protect people from harmful algal blooms. The changes were implemented based on federal data and EPA criteria, according to state officials.

The Ohio agencies warn that contact with contaminated water can cause a series of side effects including skin rashes, gastrointestinal issues, disorientation, numbness, fatigue, and death in extreme cases. Those side effects can present more quickly and severely in kids, the elderly, those who are immunocompromised. The complications can also affect animals.

Visit the Ohio Department of Health BeachGuard page here for additional details.

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